CONTRACT EXTENSION ACCEPTED
By Stephen Constantine, Feb 20 2018 07:32AM
After accepting my second contract extension with the All India Football Federation, I will have the longest tenure of any foreign coach in Indian history, with a total of seven years (2002 – 2005; 2015 – 2019).
I am of course immensely proud of that, and of our accomplishments in both stints. This time round, qualifying for the Asian Cup in 2019, winning the SAFF, and taking India to its highest ranking in modern history, 96 are all great achievements. I really could not have done this without the support of the AIFF, my staff and, of course, the players.
We have - as usual - a very hectic and busy schedule, starting with our last qualifier of the Asian Cup, away to Kyrgyzstan on March 27th.
Let me start this year’s blog with the tentative calendar for our senior and U-23 teams, remembering the FIFA dates which this year are:
June 14–July 15 World Cup (no internationals are permitted in this period )
We then of course have the Asian Cup Finals from January 5th to February 1st 2019. National team camps will be as per the FIFA guidelines where applicable.
There will then be a break in the ISL season so we can have a few more weeks to prepare for the Asian Cup in January.
So there you have a rough guide to what is coming up for us this year, a lot of football to be played and remembering the need for all the clubs to prepare and get ready for their own seasons.
It is going to be a tough season and hopefully an injury-free one as well. As we head into the start of this schedule in March we already have several players out with injury and or suspensions.
We are going to need all hands on deck going forward. As always with me, it is the players that are willing to play for the team and do the work that interest me.
We have shown over the last two years that the current group of players are fighters and will give everything in every game.
The door is open to any Indian player who is willing to do the work, the job we need him to, in the National Team.
In closing I would like to say a special thank you to all our fans around the world – your support has really kept us all going. You have been with us through thick and thin - Jai Hind!